The North Hempstead Town Board on Thursday unanimously approved a 2016 budget containing modest spending and tax increases while staying below the state-mandated tax cap.
“We have a deep obligation to our residents to provide the services they expect and deserve while being fiscally responsible, and I believe that this 2016 budget fulfills those responsibilities,” town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said.
Bosworth commended the town’s top finance officials and department heads for keeping costs down.
Deputy Supervisor Aline Khatchadourian and other financial officials made some adjustments to the $126.2 million budget since the last Town Board meeting on Oct. 20.
They included $15,337 total in cuts to mailing expenses and a $249,000 drop in revenue from other government funds.
But the changes still kept the tax levy increase under the .73-percent cap.
Town Councilwoman Dina De Georgio (R-Port Washington) asked Khatchadourian to explain the changes Thursday night, as the board had received the final budget just before the meeting.
“My feeling philosophically is that if we’re going to increase the taxes at all, even if by this admittedly small amount, the residents have to feel like they’re getting more for their money,” she said.
Bosworth said she appreciated De Georgio’s questions because they showed the budget process is “open and transparent.”
The $126.2 million budget allocates $67.1 million for the town’s General Fund, which covers expenses in the town’s incorporated villages and unincorporated areas.
Some $35.1 million goes to the Town outside Village Fund, which is dedicated to certain services, such as road maintenance, snow removal and building inspections, that the town provides residents who live or own property in unincorporated areas outside the boundaries of a village.
The other $24 million goes to the 20 town-operated special districts that provide water, firefighting, lighting, park maintenance and other services.
The figures reflect modest spending increases over the 2015 budget: $1,080,000 in the General Fund and $305,221 in the Town outside Village Fund.
The portion of that money covered by taxes also slightly increased over last year.
Some $24.9 million of the General Fund and $27.1 million of the Town outside Village Fund will come from taxes, up from $24.75 million and $26.89 million, respectively, in 2015.
The 20 town-operated special districts include fire protection districts in Albertson, Carle Place, Floral Park, Glenwood, Great Neck, Port Washington, and Roslyn, garbage districts in Albertson-Searingtown-Herricks, Great Neck, Manhasset, New Cassel, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park, and Floral Park Centre, the lighting district, park districts in Harbor Hills, Manhasset Bay, Clinton G. Martin, and Levitt Park at Roslyn Heights, Port Washington Public Parking, the Sidewalk District, and the Great Neck Water District.
The other 23 are run by independently elected boards, each headed by a commissioner.
They include the Port Washington Business Improvement District, fire districts in Garden City Park, Manhasset-Lakeville, New Hyde Park, and Westbury, garbage districts in Carle Place, Glenwood, Port Washington, and Roslyn, the Shelter Rock and Gold Coast library districts, the Carle Place Library Funding District, park districts in Great Neck and Manhasset, the Port Washington Police District, the Belgrave, Great Neck, and Port Washington Water Pollution Control Districts, and water districts in Albertson, Carle Place, Garden City Park, Glenwood, Manhasset-Lakeville, Port Washington, Roslyn, and Westbury.